Robert Jeffress - Moving From Guilt to Repentance - Part 2
Hi, I'm Robert Jeffress, and welcome again to Pathway to Victory. A famous Christian psychiatrist once said, the reason most people feel guilty is because they are guilty. Well, most people don't see it that way. Do they? As long as you and I try to be a good person, well, that must be good enough, right? No, the Bible teaches that guilt is a very real daunting mountain that separates us from fellowship with God and from receiving God's choicest blessings. And today I'm going to show you how to move from guilt to repentance, as we continue our series Invincible on Pathway to Victory.
There are five words in Psalm 51, 5 different words he uses to describe his sin. He calls them transgressions in verses one and three, that talks about the moral gravity of sin. Secondly, iniquity, it's a word that refers to the perversity of sin. The third word is sin itself. That comes from a word that means to miss the Mark, fourth he calls it evil. What he did, he said was evil. That shows how God views his transgression. And finally, he used the word blood guiltiness. He was confessing to murder by using that term, acknowledge your sin as truly sinful behavior. Secondly, David illustrates the importance of accepting responsibility for your sin.
Notice in verse two, the use of the personal pronoun wash me thoroughly from my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin for I know my transgressions and my sin is ever before me notice it's me, me, me, my, my, my. He doesn't blame Bathsheba for bathing naked on the rooftop that wasn't the cause of his sin. He doesn't blame his parents. He doesn't blame the pressures of being the king of Israel. He doesn't blame anything or anyone except himself. And you'll never find the pathway to repentance until you're willing to acknowledge your sin is your responsibility. Now you may be saying, well, pastor, I'm happy to acknowledge my sin. If I could just think of a sin, I committed if I'm ever guilty. I remember that tip. Thank you very much. Well, not so fast boso.
If you're having trouble thinking about any shortcomings you have in your life right now, I want to encourage you to pray the same prayer that David did in Psalm 139:23-24. It's the one prayer, God promises to answer every time David prayed, "Search me o God and know my heart. Try me and know my anxious thoughts and see if there be any hurtful way in me and lead me in the everlasting way". You know what he was praying. He was saying, Lord, take the spotlight of your Holy Spirit and shine it every place in my heart to see if there is anything that is displeasing to you. Are you willing to pray that prayer? You say, God, show me anything that displeases you.
Let me give you a quick inventory you might consider when you ask God to point out any sin in your life. What about your relationship with God himself? Do you have any unconfessed sins or unkept promises you've made it with God? Secondly, your relationship with your family, do you need to reconcile with parents, siblings, perhaps children or grandchildren, anything there that needs to be reconciled? What about your relationship with your mate? Do you need to ask forgiveness for wrongs done or words said to your husband or wife? What about your relationship to other people? Is there any immoral relationship that needs to stop? Do you need to seek forgiveness from somebody you've offended? What about your relationship with yourself? Any sinful habits that you need to stop? Any godly habits you need to begin? What about your relationship to your possessions? Is it time for you to transfer your trust in your bank account or possessions to trust in God instead?
If we're going to remove the mountain of guilt, we've got to accept responsibility for our sins. Thirdly, receive forgiveness for your sins. This is the heart of the matter. When we feel guilt, there has to be a time that we ask for God's forgiveness. You know, it's interesting. There are many people David could have forgiveness from, he had sinned against Bathsheba. He had sinned against her husband Uriah. He had sinned against the nation of Israel, but interestingly in verse four he said, "Lord, against you. And only you, I have sinned". What he was saying was ultimately all sin God is sin against you. And you're the first person I need to go to, to receive forgiveness and notice how he pleads for that forgiveness. He says in verse two, "Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, cleanse me from my sin". What he was saying is, God, I need you to do for me what I cannot do for myself. I need you to forgive me. I can't forgive myself.
Have you ever heard people talk about, oh you need to learn to forgive yourself? That's the dumbest things I've ever heard. You can't forgive yourself, trying to forgive yourself is like trying to play tennis with yourself. You can't be on both sides of the net at the same time, you can't serve the ball and then come over to catch and retrieve the ball and go over to that way. You can't be on the giving and receiving end of sin either you can't commit sins and then move across the net to forgive yourself from your sins. It's impossible. Only God is capable of forgiving you and me for our sins. We need him to do what we can't do for ourselves. And when we pray to God to forgive us, the only way we can be forgiven is to say, God, I believe that when you sent Jesus to die on that cross 2000 years ago, he paid the price for my sins. I am trusting in him and him alone to save me from my sins.
That's why Jesus came not to be a good example to us this Friday we're talking about good Friday, the day that Jesus hung on the cross for our sins. And remember some of his final words, John 10:30 final words, "It is finished". Literally they tell us that, paid in full is what the word means. Jesus was saying, I've paid the price for your sins. You can spend all eternity trying to pay for it and end up in hell forever. Or you can let me pay your sin debt for you. We have to receive God's forgiveness for your sins. Is there a time in your life when you've knelt before a holy God? And you've said that, holy God, God, I am a sinner. I deserve your punishment, but with all of my heart, I believe that Jesus died for me. And today this moment I'm trusting in him for my forgiveness?
The moment you do that, the Bible says in the throne room of heaven, God declares you as not guilty, not guilty. You have to accept God's forgiveness, but that's not all David says, when you have received God's forgiveness, if you have received God's forgiveness, fourthly, you will repent of your sin. You will repent of your sin. And verse 10, he said, "Create in me a clean heart o God and renew a steadfast spirit within me". What it means, what does it mean to repent? That word repent metanoia means a change of mind that leads to a change of direction. We have to turn away from our sin. If we've really been forgiven. David was saying, when he said create in me, a clean heart and a steadfast spirit, he said, Lord, I want to do better. And I'm going to do better. But first I need a new way of thinking. I need a new heart before that can happen. And that new heart is what God gives you when you trust in Christ for your salvation. And if you really have that new heart, you will turn away from that sin in your life.
Secondly, to repent means to make restitution when necessary for your sins. If there's something you owe somebody else because of your sin, you'll make things right with that person. Sometimes that's monetary restitution, Luke 19, remember the story of the tax gatherer, Zacchaeus and after he met the Lord, he said, I'm gonna repay every thing I've stolen four times because he had a new heart inside of him. Sometimes to get this, the restitution you need to make is a relationship reconciliation, in Matthew 5:23-24. Jesus said, "If you're making your offering at the altar and you remember your brother has something against you, leave your offering, go be reconciled to your brother". And notice Jesus didn't say, if you're in church making your sacrifice and you remember you've got something against your brother. No, if you remember, you've got something against your brother, just forgive him right there on the spot. But this is remembering that somebody has something against you. You're to take that first step toward reconciliation well, pastor he's to blame too, it doesn't matter if he or she is 99% to blame, and you only have 1% of blame you're to take care of your 1%, you're to go be reconciled to that other person.
Now they may or may not allow you to be reconciled but then that's their problem. But God wants you and me to have a clear conscience. The best definition I ever heard of a clear conscience was the assurance that neither God nor anyone else can blame us for a wrong, we haven't attempted to make right. A clear conscience is the assurance that neither God nor anyone else can ever blame us for a wrong, we haven't attempted to make right. Can you say that about everybody in your sphere of relationships? Is there somebody you need to go to and make that first step to reconcile that relationship? That's the guarantee. That's the sign of true repentance, then notice what happens when we receive God's forgiveness we repent from sin. Notice what God does for us. Three marvelous things. First of all, God removes our sin. He removes our sin, look at verses two and seven and nine. "Wash me," underline that word wash me, "Thoroughly from my iniquity, cleanse me from my sin, purify me with hyssop," underline that word purify and hyssop, "And I shall be clean. Wash me and I will be whiter than snow. Hide your face from my sins and blot out," underline that blotting out of all my inequities, there are three images.
David used to describe what happens when God removes our sin, water, hyssop and blotting. You know what water represents. It represents cleansing from the defilement, the dirtiness of our sin. You remember what it's like to be out mowing the lawn on a hot day in August in Dallas, Texas, the sweat, the perspiration, the dirt filth and grime. Aren't you glad to get into the shower after that and just feel it wash off your body. Have you ever felt dirty inside because of something you did a sin you committed, a word you spoke, fate of anger you got into, you just felt bad and you wish there were some way to wash that away. That's what God's forgiveness does. He said that washing, washes me thoroughly of the defilement of my sin. Secondly the hyssop, that hyssop in verse seven, that represents the cleansing from the guilt of sin. The hyssop is a bush in Israel and the priest would take a branch of that bushy bush and they would use it to sprinkle the blood of an innocent animal on the altar. It was a picture of removing the guilt of God. Whenever we receive God's forgiveness, he sprinkles us. He atones for our sin, with the blood of his son. We are never having to worry again about a guilty status before God.
And then thirdly, blot out all of my inequities. What is that about? That represents separating us from our sin. When we receive God's forgiveness, he separates us from our sin. When he looks at us and thinks about us, he doesn't think about us in terms of our sin and the longer we have been separated from our sin, because our record has been expunged. It's been blotted out by the blood of Christ. They've had used another image to describe that in Psalm 103:12. This is worth the price of the sermon. Remember what David said? "As far as the east is from the west". So far has he removed your transgressions from you? God took all of your sins and he removed it from you. How far did he take it? As far as the east is from the west.
Now here's something I never understood until this week. Why is it that he said as far as the east is from the west, why didn't he say as far as the north is from the south, here's why, you can get in your car after this service and you can start heading north and you can drive to Amarillo through Oklahoma, up through Colorado, through Canada, you can keep going north and travel north indefinitely until you get to the north pole. And the moment you get to the north pole, even though you're traveling north, north now become south and you find yourself headed south. There's a limit to how far you can go north because of the north pole. But if you get in your car and go out interstate 20, headed to Tyler, Texas going east, you can keep going to east, through Tyler, through the Louisiana, keep going far enough you'll end up in the Atlantic ocean, keep going far enough you'll end up in China and the near east. Keep going far enough you'll end up in Hawaii. And guess how long you can go east? Forever. East never will become west, no matter how far you go east, because there is no east pole and west pole.
There's a north pole and a south pole. And what David is saying, when you receive God's forgiveness, he removes your sin from you an infinite distance. As far as the east is from the west. That's how far your sin has been thrown and forgotten forever. Isn't that a great truth? That's the freedom that comes from God's forgiveness. When we receive that forgiveness, he forgives us our sins. Secondly, he reinstates our joy, guilt subs the joy, the happiness of our life. When I talk to people who feel guilty, they say, I miss the joy of what I once had in my relationship with God, look at what it says in verse eight, "Make me to hear joy and gladness. Let the bones which you have broken rejoice, restore to me the joy of your salvation and sustain me with a willing spirit". And finally, God restores our fellowship with him. Verse 11, "Do not cast me away from your presence. And don't take your Holy Spirit from me".
Now in David's day, it was a real possibility. God could have removed his Holy Spirit from David. He did that with king Saul, today as Christians after Pentecost, we never have to worry about that. John 10:28-29 says, "He gives eternal life to them. They shall never perish. No man shall snatch out of my hands. Those whom the father has given me". God will never leave us. He will never ever forsake us. We never have to worry about God moving away from us, but we do move away from God. And when we receive God's true forgiveness, it restores that fellowship. We feel confident in coming before the throne of grace to plead our case before God and to receive his gifts. That's why Psalm 32 David wrote about his confession of sin. And he said, "How blessed, how happy is the man whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered, how happy is the man in whom the Lord will not take his sin into account"? The great pastor of yesteryear, Charles Haddon Spurgeon said, "If we will deal seriously with our sin, God will deal gently with us". The apostle John said it this way, if we will confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins and then cleanses us from all unrighteousness, that's how to conquer the mountain of guilt.